The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Three into two wont go...
Posted Friday, 29 May 2009 at 00:35


I have been contacted by many parents and teachers on both sides of the three tier two tier argument and asked to take a position and head up a campaign.


Readers of the blog will know that the last time this debate arose, I took up the three tier position. I think our finest hour came during the debate at Harlington upper School, when I addressed a packed meeting and we managed by fair means (and sneaky!) to convince the councillors that three was what parents wanted.


That was during our days as a County Authority. Things are once again under review as we step into the new age of Unitary and I have decided that this time my position is going to be slightly different.


I think parents and teachers should be given a referendum on what it is they want to see in terms of educational provision across Bedfordshire.


The switch from three to two will cause a huge amount of upheaval and there is no doubt that the transitional phase will affect the educational outcomes of those children caught in the transition.


Last time I held an online poll and asked parent to vote on my web site stating their preferred choice.


I’m going to do the same again and use the result as a platform for a wider referendum.


David Cameron is committed to handing the power for local decisions back to local people. If you would like to become involved in the campaign we are putting some information together to send out so please email my office and we will get back to you.


It is right and fair that if such a huge decision is to be taken about something which affects every parent, child, teacher and school that those people affected directly should have the final say.


Each child only gets one chance at an education. If there are going to be structural changes which cannot take place overnight, we had better be sure that it’s what the majority want and are prepared to back.


Office email;


Please forward this blogpost onto other parents who may be interested.

Democrat said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
I've no opinion on this subject whatsoever. However, have just heard on Today the interview with the woman who wants late abortion statistics released in the teeth of NHS resistance to Freedom Of Information requests. I am pretty sure you support her. Publicly saying so would be helpful.
Twotrees said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
I've been worried for years about the effects of constant changes in education structure, teaching methods, curriculum, exams etc upon the outcome of the education of our children. I urge you to proceed with caution.
Martin Flitwick said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Nadine, Please support 3 tier system. Don't sit on the fence - you will get splinters!! ( and you can no longer claim for your fence on expense ;-). This is not like you. The local authorities are only interested in the potential sale of land which may result, conveniently forgetting the enormous costs of conducting such a move. The 3 tier system provides an easily climbable stairs from small school to medium size school to enormous. This is much, much better than one huge leap. Think of how difficult this is for children from the small local schools. Far better to encourage a pyramid approach from the upper schools down, so each pyramid has somebody responsible for the upper school and the middle and lower schools which ultimately feed into it. I will support any prospective councilor, MP, MEP, who backs 3 tier openly. So come on let us know what you really think.
Andy said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Surely there is no difference in Primary education to warrant 2 tiers (or 2 schools). In Scotland (better education system??), it is rare to have a Junior and Middle school (I don't know any local off the top of my head). Why do you need to seperate 3-7 year olds from 8-12 years? It doesn't make any sense. The same way as having seperate 6th forms doesn't make any sense. If you take the 'stages' argument into account, Early Stages education can be better handled by having a wider age spectrum. High achievers can be easily catered for, whereas those requiring additional needs can also be catered for within this structure. There is also the advantage of having a seamless transition from Early to Middle years and the continuity of standards within a school. It is better to have a 200-300 roll combined school than a 300 roll seperate school. Have smaller schools, more community based, with a wider age range. An effective transition process (my daughter is currently going through this) and the move to 'big school' doesn't pose any real problems.
Nadine said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Martin, everyone knows I support the three tier system, however, not all parents do. My job is to represent everyone and sometimes this is impossible, like now! I will make no secret of my own personal preference, hence the title of the blog. However, in an issue as important as this, everyone should have their shout. I need people to email my office Martin ASAP in order to start the ball rolling. I have parent contacts in almost every school, however, we need more. Please email any parents you know and get them to contact my office.Teachers too. If I had a vote on this issue, I would be voting to improve the existing 3T, but I don't. This issue wont go away unless it is put to a vote of parents and sorted once and for all. Nadine
Nadine said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Democrat, thanks for your input into this blog. I am well aware of what is happening but am not entirely sure that my involvment at this stage will help. I'm not sure that the involment of any MP will help in anything anymore.I don't want to have a negative effect. It is the subject for the weekend though :) Nadine
Valmai said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
The 3-tier system is unkind to children. To make them change schools at age 9, when they have just made their first real friends, and again at 13 during puberty and leaving only three years into the run-up to the 16-year-old exams is unkind. The 2-tier system is better.
Mike H said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
I wouldn't be eligible to vote - my two sons went through the local 3-tier system in Mid-Beds many years ago and we were very happy with the education they received. Aren't all parents utterly fed-up with changes to the education system, especially as most of the 'improvements' seem to have a negative effect? If I had a vote I would be saying to the politicians 'leave our schools alone - go and play with something else'. Besides, I thought the current thinking was that smaller schools provide a more intimate atmosphere in which discipline problems are easier to resolve.
Lawrence & Paula said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Nadine, As you know education is an area close to our hearts. The two key points we believe are the main errors in the current Bedfordshire three tier system are:- 1. The middle schools were initially designated as Secondary Schools and as such recruited their staff from the secondary teachers. Other counties that have previously used the three tier system designated their middle schools as Primary Schools and subsequently recruited primary teachers. It is our opinion that the methodologies, approaches and delivery by the secondary teacher syle to these aged children are inappropriate as they often fail to allow enough variables for the different speeds of development and lead to the proactive exclusion of children who have difficulties and formal SEN. We believe the Primary teachering syle offers more suitable approach. 2. It would appear to us that with the rest of England and Wales, save a couple of other Counties, for Bedfordshire to continue to run a system that does not provide any clear measurable advantages and continues to buck the trend for what appears to be no gain, for those being educated. Logic would suggest it must be costing significantly more as you cannot gain the economies that other counties must gain through sharing of resource, experience and logisitics. When we came first to this County, fifteen years ago, we thought the three tier system offered a better system. Having had three children go through the Bedfordshire three tier system we believe it has not been a success and that the previous Education Report by SERCO, in 2006, to the County Council demonstrates clearly the weaknesses of the County and their system in comparison to the performance of its comparable neighbours and England as a whole. We believe it would be in the best long term interest of the future children to effect the change to the 2-tier system.
Iain Clapham said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
Nadine, whilst retaining the status quo may seem attractive, in areas like Marston Vale we stream our children into Bedford Borough schools. When ( and that seems to be their expressed preference ) they go to a two tier system it will leave us with little choice of schools. Central Beds will then have massive demand for places which they previously satisfied "within Bedfordshire" - that option will dissappear. The three tier system offers little or no benefit to our children so the key points will be : 1) Transition arrangements - must consider the children's needs above all. 2) Can Central Beds afford to engineer the changes ?? 3) Will this be in sync with the surrounding catchments and feeders ?? On a personal note I'm sorry to read that the expense fiasco is getting to you. Can I suggest you go and have a wander round the rhododendrons which are just coming into bloom ? - it should put the world into perspective. Cheers --- Iain
paul said:
Responded: Friday, 29 May 2009
First I've heard of this as my kids are in private schools. In the private sector you have pre prep and prep in one school age 3 - 13 then common entrance to senior school 13-18. Seems to work really well. Not sure that I would want my kids changing schools as often as 3 tier system. There's enough disruption with all the curriculum and exam interference. In private sector majority of schools now do either IGCSE/A level or IBL. I like the position you have adopted though Nadine, express your own opinion but represent the majority decision. That is exactly what the electorate have been looking for from their MP's
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 30 May 2009
I second Paul, Nadine. I met you at Greenfield, at the Maypole dance< I remember you saying to me that it was our children, that your son went to a school in Chipping Sodbury and therefore you would never choose to assume what was best for my son and that you felt as though you were a sponge waiting for parents to let you know what it was they wanted.I could never be an MP, but I do respect the position you are taking.
Pippa Jackson said:
Responded: Saturday, 30 May 2009
I have taken the liberty of emailing your blog to all schools in the network. Your email box may be a little full :)
Anonymous said:
Responded: Sunday, 31 May 2009
I am against unnecessary discruption for children and therefore in favour of the two tier system. However, I am COMPLETELY heartened to see this blog being used for a proper political purpose, so much better and more substantive than the rubbish gossip that frequently apperars on blogs.What could be better than canvassing people's opinions via the internet in this way? Fantastic. This is how all MPS should operate as local issues emerge.
Nadine said:
Responded: Sunday, 31 May 2009
Hi, Pippa, Lawrence and Paula (I need to call you guys, a little bird has told me something)Iain, Mike, Valmai, thanks for commenting! Hope you are better V and thank you so much for my card :)
Sheila said:
Responded: Tuesday, 2 June 2009
I feel very strongly about retaining the three tier school system. My nine year old grandson attends Lower School and I help out occasionally with reading at the school. I believe that the children need the separation from the wide age range as they are very vulnerable and easily influenced at this age. They are soaking up all experiences and knowledge at a great rate. I appreciate that I attended schools with the two tier system but when I was fourteen we still played whereas now they are having makeup parties and babies! I would also suggest that there WAS and 'in built' four tier system (i.e. infants, junior, middle and senior depts). Maybe the answer would be to have (finance available) more of a campus system - where the schools ARE separate but on the same site. I was a governor at the local middle school and I have met many of the pupils and staff and I felt that the atmosphere was conducive for the child to adjust to senior school gradually. My other 10 year old grandson is just experiencing the two tier system in Kent and is moving from one school to another. Both parents and my grandson had to apply to several schools and this at a time when he is changing from 'a little boy' to a teenager with all the subsequent problems and having to mix with much older and more streetwise boys and girls. At least with the present system the children are not subjected to such a wide age range.
Judith said:
Responded: Tuesday, 2 June 2009
My son is just about to transition from Lower school to Middle school. I went through the same system Lower school to Middle and then Upper school. I feel very very strongly that in 'this day and age' children are growing up very much quicker than they did even when I was a child (47 now!). When I say 'growing up' I don't mean growing up in the full sense of being mature and able to deal with the world - I mean 'growing up' as in having to deal with adult issues and teen issues before they have been equipped to do so. In the three tier system I firmly believe that children are allowed to flow gradually and gently from primary level to middle level and subsequently secondary. In a two tier system there is such a huge age range I think that the 'specialness' of each age is diluted and the younger children are far more exposed to the issues of older children. Whilst I'm sure there are - must be - somewhere - positives of two tier systems I fail to see what they are. Children are our future (to coin a well worn phrase) and I think we need to think of how they face that future....we have so many teen pregnancies and troubles with young crime and perhaps it would work better to educate our children as children when they are....and grow them up gradually.
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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